SINGAPORE: Blogger Hoax Stirs Controversy

Recent activity in Singapore’s blogosphere has caught the attention of the nation’s lawyers – not to mention parents of armed services personnel.

According the Sumita Sreedhan of Today, the lively English-language daily, a hoax about the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) was posted on January 27th on both a blog and a Facebook page. The fictitious story asserted “that a 19-year-old full-time national serviceman was accidentally killed during a live-firing exercise.”

Following the story’s appearance, the legal community pointed to an obscure clause in the Penal Code that stated citizens “could be jailed up to three years and/or fined” for posting any “statement or rumor” that could “cause any SAF personnel to disregard or fail in his duty” or “cause fear or alarm to the public.”

Commenting on the incident, prominent blogger Lee Kin Mun, commonly known as the blogger “mrbrown,” stated that “bloggers just have to be as careful as they can be.” However, this can often be distorted by their desire to cater to the appetites of their readers. The Ministry of Defense has only asserted that the story is false, not mentioning whether it will pursue a case.

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